By Griffin Shea (AFP)
A rape video has shocked the nation, even though gruesome tales of sexual violence are commonplace in South Africa. On Monday alone, the Johannesburg High Court heard 62 rape cases...
Last month in Bloemfontein, a male nurse appeared in court on charges of raping a terminally ill cancer patient, who was held down by a female nurse during the attack.
In January, a man was charged with forcing three garden workers to rape his estranged wife and then mutilate her with household tools, also killing her son while she listened to him plead for his life.
But the latest case has proved especially harrowing -- partly because of the vast number of people in the country willing to watch the 10 minute and 33 seconds of unbearably graphic video.
Local radio broadcast sound clips, letting listeners hear first-hand the rapists' taunts and the girl's desperate pleas.The tabloid Daily Sun published an ominous screen shot showing the attackers standing around their victim. The low-quality cell phone video shows the girl screaming and begging for her attackers to stop as they take turns to rape her, according to local media. It ends with one offering her two rands (26 US cents) for her silence and she is heard crying. Watching or distributing the video is a crime under South Africa's child pornography law, and Mhaga vowed to bring charges against anyone in possession of it. Cabinet on Thursday condemned the attack, calling on "the law enforcement to ensure that the full might of the law is implemented".
Law enforcement is only one part of South Africa's rape crisis, with more than 56,000 cases reported to police last year.
But a 2009 study by the government's Medical Research Council revealed that only one in 25 rapes were reported to the police.
The same survey found more than one quarter of South African men admitted to raping a woman or girl.
"This episode must force us to take a serious look at ourselves and ask: How did we get here? How did we, as a people, raise monsters who find a joke in this repugnant act," The Star newspaper wrote in a rare front-page editorial, under a banner headline: "A nation's shame."